American Bar Association
Climate Change, Sustainable Development, and Ecosystems

Climate Change, Sustainable Development, and Ecosystems

Recent Cases and Hot News

Recent Cases and Hot News

If you have a Hot News item that you would like posted, please sent it to Elizabeth Stevens or Jameson Tweedie.

Updated: 11/23/15

EPA will hold a webinar Thursday November 12th at 1 p.m. EST on the proposed federal plan and another new section of the rule, the Clean Energy Incentive Program. The CEIP would allocate extra compliance credit to states that build wind and solar energy generation and install energy efficiency measures in low-income communities between 2020 and 2022.


On August 3, 2015, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released two final actions as part of its comprehensive plan to regulate greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions for existing and for new, modified, and reconstructed electric utility generating units (EGUs):

• EPA, Standards of Performance for Greenhouse Gas Emissions from New, Modified, and Reconstructed Stationary Sources: Electric Utility Generating Units; Final rule pursuant to CAA Section 111(b); and
• EPA, Emission Guidelines for Existing Stationary Sources: Electric Utility Generating Units; Final Rule pursuant to CAA Section 111(d).

In addition, EPA is issuing a proposed Federal Plan for states that choose not to adopt existing source regulations:

• EPA, Federal Plan Requirements for Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Electric Utility Generating Units Constructed on or Before January 8, 2014; Model Trading Rules; Amendments to Framework Regulations; Proposed Rule.

The final rules establish emission standards for new, modified, and reconstructed coal fired EGUs and separate limits for natural gas fired EGUs. These are issued under Section 111(b) of the Clean Air Act. In addition, under Section 111(d) of the Act, EPA is issuing final “guidelines” that establish the parameters for states to regulate existing EGUs. The final guidelines establish state budgets for carbon dioxide emissions from this sector, which are based on “building blocks” that EPA analyzed to determine the appropriate levels achievable in each state. States will choose the options that EPA has identified when developing their plans and control requirements for existing affected facilities within their boundaries. Under this plan, existing EGUs will be required to reduce GHG emissions by an average of 32 percent from 2005 levels by 2030.

The following pre-publication rules and supporting documents are available:

Clean Power Plan for Existing EGUs
Carbon Pollution Standards for New, Modified & Reconstructed EGUs
Proposed Federal Plan and Model Rule for the Clean Power Plan



Recent Releases

Global Climate Change and U.S. Law, Second Edition

Michael B. Gerrard and Jody Freeman, Editors

This comprehensive examination of U.S. law as it relates to climate change completely updates and reconsiders material from the prior edition while adding extensive new material. Recognizing that climate change is largely an energy problem, a new section addresses energy regulation.

Order now. Log in to see special Section of Environment, Energy, and Resources member price of $89.95.

Click here to learn more.

Message from the Chair

Message from the Chair

The co-chairs and vice-chairs of the Committee encourage you to become actively involved in our programs and discussions and welcome you to enjoy the benefits of Committee membership. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have questions about the activities of the Committee, would like to become more involved with the projects we plan to undertake this year, or if you are interested in initiating a project not listed here.

Climate Change: Climate change continues to be a source of rapid developments in environmental law. Over the course of 2013 and 2014, EPA will propose new source performance standards for greenhouse gas emissions from new and existing sources. These rulemakings will have significant impacts on the electric power generation sector and raise a number of important legal questions. There are also a range of other executive branch activities on greenhouse gases and climate change. Litigation related to these issues continues, including a recent grant of certiorari by the Supreme Court and pending cases in the D.C. Circuit and other courts of appeals.

Sustainable Development: The ABA House of Delegates recently adopted a resolution on sustainability, and a presidential-level ABA task force has been established to carry out the implementation of the resolution. The Committee will be working with the Task Force, and we will be looking for ways for our committee to support their activities. The Committee also continues to work to identify ways that lawyers can better advise clients on sustainability issues. For more information on these programs or if you have suggestions for other programs, contact our Sustainable Development Vice Chairs, Georgy Wyeth or John C. Dernbach.

Social Media: The ABA’s Section on Environment, Energy, and Resources has a limited number of dedicated pages for subgroups on LinkedIn, and CCSDE was selected as one of those pages. We encourage all members of the Committee to join the group on LinkedIn and to join our conversations. We post useful information and updates and have had some great exchanges of views on the page. It’s a great way to stay in touch with your colleagues and contacts in this subject area as well. If you have questions, please contact our social media vice-chair, Ruth Ivory-Moore.

Electronic Communications: The Committee will continue to regularly update this webpage with developments of interest, as well as continue sending updates to our members via the committee list serve and periodic e-mails on climate change, sustainable development and ecosystems news items. We hope this will keep our members abreast of recent developments in the field. If you have an update you would like to share with Committee members, or if you have any comments on the e-mail updates, please e-mail electronic communications vice-chairs, Elizabeth Stevens and Jameson Tweedie.

Programs and Public Service: The Committee will continue to develop excellent programming, including proposals for the Section Fall Meeting and Annual Conference on Environmental Law, regional programming, and responsive Quick Teleconferences and webinars. If you have an idea you would like to discuss, please contact our Programs Vice Chairs, Bernard Hawkins, Marisa Martin, Andrew D. Otis, and Gary Steinbauer.

Committee Newsletter: The Committee plans to publish four quarterly newsletters during the coming year. If you are interested in submitting an article or have an idea you would like to discuss, please contact our Newsletter Vice Chairs, Victor Baltera, Bill Smalling and Eric Waeckerlin.

The Year In Review: Each year, the Committee contributes a section on climate change, sustainable development, and ecosystems to the ABA SEER The Year in Review. This publication provides an excellent summary of the most significant events in the field. If you are interested in working on The Year in Review for our Committee, please contact our The Year in Review Vice Chairs, Kevin Davis, Shannon Dilley, and Misty Sims.

Committee Information

50 State Survey –A Complimentary Supplement to Chapter 11: The State Response to Climate Change, GLOBAL CLIMATE CHANGE AND U.S. LAW, 2ND (Michael B. Gerrard and Jody Freeman, eds)

This comprehensive 602 page survey has been prepared by Kelly Nishikawa, Benjamin Lowenthal and other students at Pace Law School’s Global Center for Environmental Legal Studies, under the oversight of the Associate Director of Environmental Law Programs, Laura Jensen. This very valuable reference document accompanies Global Climate Change and U.S. Law, Second Edition (Michael B. Gerrard and Jody Freeman, eds, 2014), available online at the ABA webstore. It compiles state legislation, rules and executive orders that specifically address climate change as of the end of April 2014. It also includes a wide variety of state activities that may have an impact on greenhouse gases including legislation related to energy efficiency and renewable energy. The focus of this material is to provide readers with an understanding of the range of state activity that may contribute to greenhouse gas reduction and climate change. Some types of energy efficiency, alternative fuels and renewable energy legislation (such as tax credits for hybrid vehicles) are very similar from state to state; some laws have a short duration and therefore may not be codified (such as temporary tax credits); energy legislation is being enacted at an increasing pace. As a result, not all energy efficiency, alternative fuels and renewable energy legislation and other activity in every state are included in this compilation.

View the survey >>
Purchase the book >>


Welcome to the homepage of the Climate Change, Sustainable Development, and Ecosystems Committee (CCSDE). Our committee is a cross-practice committee within the Section of Environment, Energy, and Resources. Our goal is to make the Committee a premier source of information and a forum for discussion on the law and policies related to climate change, sustainable development, and ecosystems. The coming year will be a very exciting one in these fields and our Committee will continue to be on the forefront of new developments.


Social Media

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Committee Communications/ List Serve

The primary way that the Climate Change, Sustainable Development, and Ecosystems committee disseminates information is through our List Serve, which is distributed to all Committee members. Please feel free to contact the Committee members with any questions or to share information regarding recent developments in the field of climate change, sustainable development, and ecosystems by using the list serve. The list serve address for the committee is (You must be a member to use this list serve.)

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Committee Chair


Broome, Shannon
Fisher, Emily

Committee Roster  

2015-2016 Climate Change Committee Leadership

View the full roster of Climate Change, Sustainable Development, and Ecosystems Committee leadership.

Committee Events

Section Events

Links of Interest

Other Links of Interest

View Committee Newsletters

An archive of the committee's past newsletters is available.

Modified by Peter Clark on November 23, 2015

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